A four hour movie divided into 2 volumes, Nymphomaniac is unlike anything I have ever seen before.
Discovered laying on the ground in an alley, Joe is taken in by a man named Seligman. Joe willingly tells her story to Seligman, about her unique addiction. From a very early age Joe was already searching for new and unusual ways to pleasure herself. As the movie goes on though, and Joe gets older, the distance she will go for pleasure, greatly separates her from any common sex addict.
There are a few big reasons as to why this movie (as I will refer to both volumes) stands alone in comparison to any other movie I have seen. Firstly, the movie was created in such an artful way. The first couple minutes of the film don’t even have picture. Instead we just listen to the sounds of everything “around us”. Then, to tie it together and explain what we heard, we are finally able to see what we had been hearing. I think that this was a powerful addition to the movie. Visual senses play the biggest part in a film, but for a few brief moments we are left blind to the screen and given only one way to sense it. Talk about different and creative.
Another way this movie stood out, was with it’s vivid, sex-focused appeal. I’ve never seen a movie work so hard to ensure that the viewer doesn’t miss the action. Instead of fading to black after some kissing and laughing, we get to see the whole sha-bang. At first I questioned whether or not such a graphic movie was necessary, but I came to the conclusion that this greatly impacted the movie viewing experience. How could we get the best understanding of the life of this woman, if we didn’t see it in complete detail.
Lastly, I must mention the analogical nature of this film. Seligman was a very knowledgable man who was able to tie in various analogies to Joe’s story. The fly fishing hook was a big one. This represented Seligman’s knowledge of fly fishing, and symbolized Joe’s desire and ability to draw men to her for sex. One way or another, a new discussion would form, and new analogies would be connected to Joe’s life. This played a vital role in helping viewers understand the depth of Joe’s story.
I found the cast to be very talented, with only one exception; the lack of emotion. I felt that in the scenes where emotion really needed to be captured, it just wasn’t done so properly. I didn’t feel for the characters what I would have felt in movie that did it right. Stack this next to the things I love about this movie, and you’ll find that it’s a small complaint. And since I’m on the subject, I have but one major plot issue, which was the ending. I can’t give it away, but I was disgusted with the very ending of this film. In a way it made sense, but at the same time, it just isn’t what I wanted to happen. Notice I didn’t say “anticipated”, because at some point I did have an idea of what might happen, but I had so strongly hoped it wouldn’t.
Total Abstract Rating: 90% If you can handle a long run-time, vivid sexual activity, and a unique approach to film capture, then this is without question a good film to see.
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